Marcus Blake leaned back in his chair, put his feet up on the desk and thought about the year that had flown by since Afghanistan. His ramshackle security agency had not improved much in that year. He had taken on a secretary, a young widow by the name of Vereen who had a four year old son, and the only acquisition that could be said to have improved the business. Vereen worked for three days each week; anymore would have meant losing her benefits. Of those who had applied for the job, Marcus liked Vereen the most. There were few takers, considering the hours and the meagre pay, but she fitted the bill, had the necessary personal skills and wanted an opportunity to keep in touch with workday routines. Her mother was Jamaican, her father English and she lived near them on a council estate in South London. Vereen opened the door and walked in. She dropped a folder on his desk. ‘You got a phone call this morning.’ Marcus took his feet off the desk. ‘Who was it?’ ‘Sir Giles Cavendish, whoever that is. You moving in posh circles now?’ Marcus felt an inward groan surfacing; any interest from Cavendish could not be good news. ‘Sometimes I wish I wasn’t,’ he admitted. ‘What did he want?’ ‘He wants to see you, said he’d be here about now.’ Marcus grunted and looked at his watch. ‘Who is he?’ Vereen asked. ‘An old client?’ Marcus thought of Afghanistan again and missile attacks, drugs, child smuggling and killing dear friends. ‘You could say that,’ he said after a while. ‘Make yourself scarce when he comes, Vereen. If I need you, I’ll give you a shout.’ One other improvement to the agency during the previous twelve months was the purchase of a room next to his office. Although Marcus did not need money, the fee paid by Her Majesty’s government for his services in Afghanistan had been handsome; it was enough to buy a fair chunk of prime real estate in the city. But all he wanted, or needed, was to double the size of his agency. Vereen used it as an office, but it was really a repository for anything Marcus didn’t want or didn’t know what to do with.
Marcus Blake, who appeared in A Covert War, is again asked to help Sir Giles Cavendish, one time boss of MI6, to look into the death of a government cabinet minister who was supposed to have committed suicide. A suicide note was found with the body in the minister’s handwriting, but the official verdict was cancer. Sir Giles believes that the minister was murdered, and asks Blake to use his intuitive skills to unearth the secrets behind the death of this government minister. Marcus and his part-time secretary, Vereen, get drawn into a web of deceit, satanic worship and high powered corruption.
We all come from somewhere and our lot could have trudged here in ancient times before we were islands, likely as not to hunt for food. They might have landed by boat a few thousand years ago from Iberia or they could’ve come across with the Celts from France in the last couple of centuries. We don’t know much about the early times; nothing was written in the parish until present times. Beyond me old man and what he told me of his folks, it’s a blank, but we all comes from somewhere and for us that somewhere was our island; Lihou.
Most westerly of the British Channel Islands sits the tiny
island of Lihou. Technically it is only an island for half
of the time because when the tide recedes a granite
causeway is revealed and Lihou becomes a peninsula of its
larger, neighbouring island – Guernsey.
The name ‘Lihou’ is thought to come from long ago when the local language was influenced by the Celts from France,
the Vikings or ‘Norsemen’ from Scandinavia and the Romans. The first part, ‘Li’ is likely to come from the French word for ‘the’ and ‘hou’ from the Norse word for mound or
island. So Lihou means ‘the island’.
In nearby France, close to the town of Granville, is the medieval monastery of Mont Saint Michel and it was the monks from Mont Saint Michel who built and consecrated a
priory on Lihou Island in the year 1114. At that time, Granville, had a different name; it was called ‘Roque de Lihou’. Legend has it that large forests surrounded both Roque de Lihou in France and the south-west coast of Guernsey until a great storm and tidal wave in the year 709AD swept away the trees and submerged the land in both areas making Lihou an island for the first time.
This book is a record, with some conjecture, of one branch of the Lihou family from Nicholas (born in 1445) to the present day, embellished by local and national history. Hopefully each chapter will serve as a time capsule for future generations moved by an appetite to understand their ancestors.
The draft forward and first chapter can be found on the ‘Manuscript Link’. Comments or feedback will be very welcome.
NB As the enclosed is a short extract, a full and proper acknowledgement of the considerable contribution made by those who researched the genealogy of the family is not included. Without their efforts, the entire book and this short extract, would not have been a possibility. The published version will, of course, include such an acknowledgement.
His Majesty’s ship Calliope, a fifth rated frigate, appeared to be a well found ship. She had to be to survive the force of the storm. If only the same could be said of her crew, though it wasn’t the ordinary seamen that gave Charlotte cause for concern. They all appeared to know their business. Her conflict was with the officers, Captain Scuthern, for his superior, condescending attitude and Major Tristan Percival for his unwanted assumption that she found him in any way attractive.
Charlotte Berry is a strong female character who doesn’t need a man coming to her rescue, so this could be described as a feminist action romance. The name Charlotte Berry, comes from an old Penny Dreadful story about a female pirate named, Charlotte de Berry. There are no other similarities.
While this story is fiction, the idea for the location of Priest’s rebellion lies in the Battle of Campeche, 1843, and the Caste War in the Yucatan of 1847.
Just minutes away from their destination, the aircraft’s engine began to splutter and cough and as the last droplets of aviation fuel were consumed, its roar finally extinguished. Now, with only the sound of the wind cascading over the aircraft’s wings, the Lysander glided eerily over occupied France. The moonlight cast a fleeting shadow of its approach on the countryside below as the scale of every feature marked their descent and the ground sped ominously towards them.
The Sky over Occupied Brittany, June 1943
A young airman from the island of Guernsey is forced to abandon his aircraft and find refuge amongst the French resistance in Brittany. Fleeing his enemy, he attempts to find his way back to Guernsey which, although occupied, still offers his best chance of freedom.
Whilst physically uninjured, he is nevertheless badly wounded and the scars of his experience weigh heavily on his mind as he struggles to find the motivation to survive the dangers that threaten to engulf him.